- Background ---
- E911 for VoIP Communication
- E911 Registration Requirements With Telebroad
- Important Note About E911 During Power and Network Outage
- E911 on Mobile Devices
- Disclaimer of 911 Liability
The following article provides key points and highlights about Telebroad's E911 service. It is meant as a general reference and does not necessarily cover all the limitations of the service. For full terms and limitations please refer to the E911 Agreement & Acknowledgement article on the legal section of our website.
E911 stands for Enhanced 911. It is a solution that allows VoIP (and mobile) users to be connected to emergency services personnel (such as police, ambulance, or the fire department) by dialing 911 on virtual phone systems, just as if they were using a regular landline.
Basic 911 and E911 Development
E911 was developed in several phases and was preceded by Basic 911. Basic 911 would just connect a telephone user to an emergency call center, but without providing the center any details about the caller. The caller would have to provide his name and location to the operator in the call center.
When E911 was introduced the name and address of the caller would be available to the operator from a database that cross-referenced the caller ID of the caller with his billing details. The operator usually reconfirmed the information with the caller and in situations where the technology may not function the caller still had to be ready to provide it.
The next two phases in E911 development and legislation focused on the challenges of emerging wireless communication, requiring wireless providers to identify a caller's location based on cell phone towers mapping. E911 for wireless calls was made available even if a caller is not a subscriber of any provider.
Next, through several phases as well, E911 integrated VoIP-based telephone systems. Initially, VoIP had only Basic 911 capabilities (if at all), but in later phases solutions for providing the location and address of VoIP callers were developed.
Next Generation 911
For all its advances E911 is still limited by analog phone infrastructure. As digital mobile and VoIP phones are becoming the norm there has been a need to evolve the E911 system further, which led to the introduction of NG911 – Next Generation 911. NG911 is based on IP infrastructure and is faster and more reliable. More importantly, beyond voice calls it allows the public to communicate with emergency centers (and emergency personnel in the field) using all available broadband communication applications – pictures, voice, text messages, and data files. The implementation of NG911 across the U.S. and Canada is gradual and depends also on local and state legislation and funding.
Telebroad supports the latest implementation of 911 technologies and is fully compliant with all the relevant regulations and requirements to ensure that our users can safely make 911 calls from our VoIP-based PBXellent system. Telebroad users have access to either E911, Basic 911, or NG911 depending on the availability of those services in their area.
E911 for VoIP Communication
Regular landlines, by nature, are defined by a fixed and known physical location and are registered to customers with a specific name and address. Landlines are routed by PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network. The PSTN can therefore easily route calls to the office of Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) nearest to the caller, where an operator will connect the caller to the appropriate agency.
VoIP lines, on the other hand, are location independent and are not even related to any physical cellular towers. A VoIP account is accessible to users anywhere in the U.S. or the world. To make things even more complex, with VoIP service it is possible to use caller IDs with area codes different to the one the user is actually located at. The application of VoIP for business uses, such as a Multi-line Telephone System(PBX), created even more challenges because they establish a company-wide phone network that is separate from the PSTN and can, in some cases, span several buildings and locations.
These factors made it very complicated to route 911 calls to the correct PSAP in the early days of VoIP. It wasn’t uncommon for providers to simply notify customers that they couldn’t provide support for 911 calls.
Since then, providers have worked to develop technologies to facilitate 911 calls over VoIP networks and regulations have been put in place to ensure emergency services are reachable by VoIP users. The regulations address interconnected VoIP systems – those that connect to and are able to make calls to the regular phone network using the PSTN. VoIP systems that do not connect to the PSTN (such as online gaming networks) are not required to support 911 calls.
The location of a VoIP user can now be determined with relatively good accuracy using a combination of network topology (similar to how online maps find a location), tracking technology, and other location determination techniques. Further developments even addressed multi-line Telephone Systems with organization-wide 911 location mapping that includes data about a building, floor, office, and even a particular workstation.
E911 Registration Requirements With Telebroad
Despite the advancements in tracking and network topology technologies, it is still not guaranteed they would automatically provide precise E911 information to the appropriate PSAP. Telebroad, therefore, requires its customers to perform a simple physical address registration.
There is a form to fill out that will be emailed to you when you open an account with us. The form outlines the major terms, conditions, and limitations of the E911 service. After you submit it, Telebroad will do the address registration on your behalf.
You can also download the form at the bottom of this page.
Please take a few minutes to review this form and understand the full restrictions of the E911 service beyond the summary given in this article, including situations where the service may not function or where you may need to provide your name and address to an operator.
If you change your address, it is your responsibility to update your registration with your new location at least ten days prior to the physical move by completing the E911 Customer Acknowledgment Location Change Form. The form needs to be requested by contacting Telebroad's customer service at support@Telebroad.com. In order to avoid delays and loss of emergency service please request the form with enough advance notice to allow ten days for processing.
Once your address is registered your 911 calls, in most cases, will be routed to a local emergency personnel responsible for your registered location. An exception to this is if you are using the same telephone number for two different devices (this is not common). One device will be designated as your primary line and calls from it will be routed to the local emergency response center. The other device will be designated as your secondary line and calls from it will be routed to the national emergency call center for handling.
Important Note About E911 During Power and Network Outage
Telephone landlines generally work during a power outage because they receive power directly from the telephone company. However, VoIP equipment may not operate during a power outage without a backup source. This means that during a power outage you will not be able to make 911 calls from your VoIP equipment (or any calls for that matter) unless it runs with a reserve generator or battery.
The same applies to broadband outages. E911 will not work if your network is down for any reason!
The E911 Agreement & Acknowledgement lists other situations where the E911 may not function properly.
E911 on Mobile Devices
VoIP 911 does not function properly on Telebroad's VoIP implementation running on either a mobile device web browser or Telebroad's mobile Android/iOS app, and you must refrain from using either in case of an emergency.
If you need to use your mobile phone in case of an emergency, you must dial 911 directly from your phone utilizing the cellular network associated with it. Your phone must have a cellular reception, but you are not required to be actively subscribed to any service plan with your provider to make emergency calls. Your phone should be able to dial 911 even without a SIM card installed in it.
Wireless service providers are required to maintain technologies to assist 911 operators in identifying your mobile phone's location, but the technology is not always reliable and you must be prepared to provide the 911 operator with your location and type of emergency.
Some tablet mobile devices are equipped with SIM card slots to provide users with cellular internet connectivity. In most cases, despite having cellular reception, such devices are not capable of voice call functionality and can't be used for making 911 calls.
Disclaimer of 911 Liability
If E911 is available and functioning for your service, then when you dial 911 on your phone your call will be routed to a local, regional, or national emergency response center. Once the call has been routed Telebroad has no control over the response center it has been routed to.
We disclaim all responsibility for the conduct of emergency response centers. Therefore, we are not responsible for whether they answer calls using our 911 dialing service, how they answer these calls, or how they handle them.
We rely on third parties to assist us in routing 911 calls to emergency response centers. We are neither liable nor responsible if the data used by a third party to route calls is incorrect or produces an erroneous outcome or results in the delay of the delivery of emergency services.
Neither Telebroad nor its officers or employees may be held liable for any claim, damage, loss, fine, penalty, cost, or expense (including, without limitation, attorneys fees) by, or on behalf, of you or any third party or user of our service, relating to our service, including, without limitation, 911 Dialing, or your device.